My Volvo starts to smell after ten minutes of driving. Help!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have an 84 Volvo DL, and every time I drive it for more than 10 minutes, I get this acrid smell that makes me think the insulation is being burned off a wire. What would be your guess as to the trouble?
Fred

RAY: My guess--based on the 148 boat payments I've made courtesy of this very repair--is that your blower motor is burning up.

TOM: The fan that you use with the heater and air conditioner never shuts off completely. Even when you think it's off--when the switch is all the way to the left--the blower is still turning very slowly, so that you always have at least a little bit of fresh air coming into the cabin. They thought this might be important for, like, breathing.

RAY: The problem is that the motor eventually burns out. And while it's burning out, what you smell is the insulation meltings around the wires inside that motor. Doesn't that sound bad? Well, it gets worse. Because it's very expensive to replace that motor. It costs many hundreds of dollars.

TOM: So, if you're like my customers, you'll probably go through the standard four stages of a Volvo repair; denial, grief, anger, and acceptance. Just try to reach acceptance before it gets real cold out, Fred.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter